Course Overview

The proposed professional Masters of Humanitarian and Refugee Studies Programme (MHRS) is designed on account of the imperative of providing strong research, training, consultancy, and monitoring support for regional initiatives in the political and military sphere of conducting independent studies based on humanitarian early-warning signals and working out sound preventive measures aimed at crisis prevention and resolution. The initiative for the proposed establishment of professional MHRS Degree Programme is a timely response to the urgent need and demands of the society.


The aim of the programme is to promote research in the area of Humanitarian and Refugee Studies, good governance and development in Northeast sub-region in Nigeria and the Lake Chad region.


To produce students and experts to facilitate peaceful, tolerant, stable, progressive Society in the northeast sub-region, Nigeria and West Africa.


To equip students through academic research in Humanitarian and Refugee studies, and facilitate capacity building and training.

Aims & Objectives

The objectives of the programme are to:

  1. equip students theoretically and practically to generate critical issues in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies.
  2. arm them with adequate theoretical insights to understand Humanitarian and Refugee Studies and development related issues in the society.
  3. provide students with standard techniques and instruments requisite in conducting researches on current problems in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies.
  4. avail students with broad based knowledge of the Humanitarian and Refugee Studies terrain and to enable them proffer relevant suggestions and recommendations into the policy making process.
  5. equip students theoretically and practically to generate critical issues in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies.
  6. arm students with adequate theoretical insights to understand communication related Humanitarian and Refugee Studies in the society.
  7. provide students with standard techniques and instruments requisite in conducting researches on current problems in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies.

Nomenclature of the Degree

The nomenclature of the degree is Master of Humanitarian and Refugee Studies (MHRS)

Entry Requirements

The requirements for the MHRS programme are in accordance with the general regulations governing postgraduate studies of the University of Maiduguri. Applicants seeking admission must:

  1. Possess First Class, Second Upper Division or Second Class Lower Division degree in Arts and Social Sciences. Applicants whose background other than Arts and Social Sciences or related field such as Law, Public Administration, Education from the University of Maiduguri or any other University recognised by the University and with a CGPA of 2.40 or 50% Weighted Average Mark may be considered.
  2. Possess a minimum of Five Ordinary Level Credits in relevant subjects, including English Language and Mathematics in the Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSCE) or its equivalent.
  3. Candidate with third class degree must have at least PGD in Arts and Social Sciences may be considered for admission.


The duration of the professional Masters Programme shall be one academic session (two semesters).

Course Structrue

The professional Masters programme shall be a part time programme including coursework and research. The coursework shall be administered and examined in the first and second semesters.

Compulsory Courses (Masters Programme)

Candidate must register and pass all the following compulsory courses (24 Units):

S/No. Course Code Course Title Units Semester
1. HRS 801 Humanitarian Interventions 3 1st
2. HRS 802 Research Methods in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies 3 2nd
3. HRS 803 Conceptual and Theoretical issues in humanitarian and refugee studies 3 1st
4. HRS 804 Early-Warning System in Prevention Conflict and Disaster Management 3 2nd
5. HRS 805 Population Policies and Emigration Dynamics in Contemporary World 3 1st
6. HRS 808 Problems and Management of Internally Displaced Persons 3 2nd
7. HRS 815 Independent Research Project 3 1st
8. HRS 816 Internship 3 2nd
9. HRS 899 Dissertation 6 1st & 2nd

Optional Courses

Candidate must register and pass a minimum of five courses (15 Units) from the following optional courses:

S/No. Course Code Course Title Units Semester
1. HRS 806 Host-Refugee and IDPs Relations in Comparative Perspective 3 2nd
2. HRS 807 The Dynamics in Forced Repatriation of Migrants 3 1st
3. HRS 809 Refugee Crisis in Africa 3 1st
4. HRS 810 Law of Armed Conflicts 3 2nd
5. HRS 811 International Legal Treaties and Protocols Relating to Migrations 3 1st
6. HRS 812 International Agencies and the Management of Refugee Problems 3 2nd
7. HRS 813 Role of NGOs in Humanitarian Assistance 3 1st
8. HRS 814 War, Trauma and its Management 3 2nd
9. HRS 817 Dimensions of Humanitarian Assistance 3 1st
10. HRS 818 Special Groups in Humanitarian Crisis 3 2nd
11. HRS 819 Media and Information Management in Humanitarian Crisis 3 1st
12. HRS 820 Politics of Humanitarian Assistance 3 2nd
13. HRS 821 Social Structure and the Management of Humanitarian Situations 3 1st
14. HRS 822 Disaster Semiotics 3 2nd
15. HRS 823 Human-induced Hazards 3 1st
16. HRS 824 Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Disaster Management 3 2nd


  1. Compulsory Courses: 08 (24 Units)
  2. Optional Courses: 05 (15 Units)
  3. Dissertation: 06 Units

TOTAL = 45 Units

HRS 801: Humanitarian Interventions (3 Units)

Humanitarian crises and complex , emergencies; Human rights challenges and international Humanitarian law; doctrine of military benign and hostile constructions of humanitarian intervention; international, regional and sub-regional dimensions; emergent new relationships involving different actors, including agencies, donors, NGOs, private companies and military establishments, Case studies to include “Operation provide comfort” in Iraq; “Restore Hope in Somalia”. The politics of peacekeeping operations in past and current conflict prone countries, framework and principles of humanitarian intervention; genocide and crimes of the state; the special needs and vulnerabilities of women and children in armed conflicts; approaches and methods of providing concrete support for war victims; geo-political nuances and sociological contexts; redefinition of the "Just War" doctrine and criteria; The Banjul chapter and African options.

HRS 802: Research Methods in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies (3 Units)

Problems of investigation, conceptualization and the research process. Research design including triangulation and the logic of impact assessment, field-work, data collection and evaluation, processing and analysis in national and international settings pertaining to humanitarian, refugee and disaster studies; evaluation of data sources and methods; models of analysis, presentation and interpretation.

HRS 803: Conceptual and Theoretical Issues in Humanitarian and Refugee Studies (3 Units)

Major Conceptual and Theoretical issues involved in studying humanitarian and refugee problems in the context of globalization, including contradictions between new impulses towards humanitarian intervention and the old idea of national sovereignty; reinvention of the “Just (and Unjust) War” tradition: redefinition of security to other broader and non-military issues, multi-track diplomacy; warehousing: explaining wide disparities in the international community's response and commitments to urgent humanitarian needs in different regions; politics of humanitarian aid; systems theory applied to governance at the global, regional and national levels including Parsons social system and Ekeh's two publics and related social formations: the contradictions integral to these and their implications to conflict disaster developing countries.

HRS 804: Early-Warning Systems in the Prevention of Conflict and Disaster Management. (3 Units)

Understanding the linkage between conflict diagnosis and conflict prevention; disaster management; differentiating between the structural cum pre-dispositional variables and the more proximate causes or precipitants of conflicts; role or triggers in conflict and disaster anticipation; strategy for designing humanitarian early-warning systems and lack of effective international mechanisms in enforcing these; appropriate response to early warning.

HRS 805: Population Policies and Emigration Dynamics in Contemporary World (3 Units)

Overview of population policies, linking population policies to migration within and across state boundaries through the intermediation of the population growth - labour force - employment-migration continuum; the implications of these for globalization.

HRS 806: Host-Refugee and IDP Relations in Comparative Perspective (3 Units)

Models of refugee flows in comparative perspective; arrivals in host communities; long and short term implications; reception, emergency needs and material assistance; need assessment; local resource capabilities; impact on environment; household food security, infrastructural base, social and health sector, local, state politics and security; refugee rights; security and neutrality of refugee camps; host state and host community responses; refugee policy and refugee legislations; refugee administration: on asylum seekers; implications of all foregoing for host/refugee relations particularly prospects and options for refugee integration, resettlement in a third country, repatriation; impact on regional economy and politics.

HRS 807: The Dynamics in Forced Repatriation of Migrants (3 Units)

Ethical and legal issues in host- migrant relations; examples of agreements entered into between labour -exporting and receiving countries for protecting migrants" rights; economic, social and political conditions favoring the display of racism or xenophobia towards migrants; select cases of dehumanization, expropriation, and forced repatriation of' migrants. Case studies will include the repatriation of refugees and of mixed migrants - brain drain, trafficked, smuggled, IDPs.

HRS 808: Problems and Management of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) (3 Units)

Problems and management of internal displacement or persons within states and region, resulting from armed conflicts, internal strife and the violation of human rights and disasters with emphasis on children, women, and other vulnerable groups; a critical look at the capacity and willingness of governments and institutions to address the human security needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and how the response of the international community can be better enhanced; socio- psychological dimensions of IDPs

HRS 809: Refugee Crisis in Africa (3 Units)

Origin, causes, and dimensions of refugee crises in Africa; explaining the instrumentality for managing refugee crisis – international, regional and sub-regional; case studies.

HRS 810: Law of Armed Conflicts (3 Units)

Principles and problems of the laws of armed conflicts and of the humanitarian law of wars; relevant international instruments, e.g. Regulations, Geneva Conventions and the protocols Additional to them, the UN Chapter, etc; status of civilians, POWs, journalists, mercenaries, spies, combatants before, during, and after the conduct of hostility; role of international organizations, e.g. ICRC, Amnesty International, etc; Treaties and the ending of war. Case Laws.

HRS 811: International Legal Treaties and Protocols Relating to Migrations (3 Units)

Study of international legal treaties and instruments governing migration in Africa. Special attention to be paid to the protocols of sub-regional economic organizations like the ECO WAS, SADC, etc. relating to forced movement of persons; residence and establishment; rights of entry, rights of migrants; integration of sub-regional obligations into national law and administrative practice; extent of harmony between national, sub-regional, and international legal, principles governing migrants' rights and obligations.

HRS 812: International Agencies and the Management of Refugee Problems (3 Units)

Kinds, mandates and missions of international agencies involved with the management of refugee problems; overlap in functions, programmes, and practices; response to emergencies; problems of sensitivity to local, needs and customs; collaboration and conflicts with NGOs, communication gap between field officers and headquarters. Co-ordination of emergency work. Case Studies.

HRS 813 Roles of NGOs in Humanitarian Assistance (3 Units)

A critical evaluation of competing roles and interests of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in humanitarian relief work; their types and forms; impact assessment; and relationship with the international development community. The uses and abuses of humanitarian assistance.

HRS 814 War Traumas and its Management (3 Units)

Medico-legal and psychosocial effects of trauma on combatants and civilians victims of conflicts and disasters, particularly children and women; post-traumatic stress disorders; effect of conscription; abduction; pressures of physical and emotional neglect; shooting death of loved ones, involvement in war crimes; rape; the phenomenon of ex- child soldiers; use of enemy images for (re-) construction of (self) identities; disintegration of one's immediate primary groups; conditions of life in POW, IDPs refugee camps. The analysis of displacement theories and coping mechanisms used as part of the strategy for managing war trauma, as well as other therapeutic techniques such as sports, psychosocial interventions, counseling and psychotherapy, psychoanalysis and cognitive-behaviour identification video and case presentations and practical sessions to form integral part of the course.

HRS 815: Independent Research Project (3 Units)

A 15-20,000 word project essay either based on results of original research or being an ordered and critical exposition of existing knowledge on an approved topic within the general field of humanitarian and refugee studies.

HRS 816: Internship (3 Units)

The supervised internship is designed to expose students to the practical aspects of the programme and will be undertaken in governmental and non-governmental organizations relevant to the programme Examples include National Commission for Refugees, the Red Cross, rehabilitation camps for IDPs, regional and sub-regional organization such as ECOWAS and UN agencies, with humanitarian mandates in Africa.

HRS 817: Dimensions of Humanitarian Assistance (3 Units)

Types and causes of conflicts and disaster, political, economic nutritional, health, biological, geographic; the various ways and means humanitarian assistance is extended to the victims and preventive measures.

HRS 818: Special Groups in Humanitarian Crisis (3 Units)

The course introduces students to the care of vulnerable groups during conflicts, disasters and other types of emergencies; the case of women and children. The physically challenged trafficking in persons and policy issues related to these.

HRS 819: Media and Information Management in Humanitarian Crisis (3 Units)

The media as sources of public education on refugee, disaster and other humanitarian issues; the management of conflicts through media rhetoric; media ownership and control in relation to objectivity and neutrality in the reporting of conflict; investigative journalism and risk management in volatile environments; official policies on information and the sociology of speculation, especially in relation to conspiracy theory and victims.

HRS 820: Politics of Humanitarian Assistance (3 Units)

The course examines the: capacity and capability of nations in managing disaster; the relationship between nations and how these enhance/hinder the management of disaster; understanding how the social relations of production contribute to the escalation of disaster or otherwise.

HRS 821: Social Structures and the Management of Humanitarian Situations (3 Units)

The impact of religion, politics, mass media development orientation and the economy on conflict and disaster; issues related to ethnicity, good governance and socio-economic relations; the nature and role of corruption and poverty prevalent in neo-colonial situations and how these relate with the predisposition to conflicts and disasters with particular reference to Africa.

HRS 822: Disaster Semiotics (3 Units)

Pollution (waters, air, soil), Noise pollution. Indiscriminate waste disposal, Climate change, Deforestation. Hunger and famine. Terrorism. Cyber terrorism. Genocide. War. Religious clashes. Disease Pandemics.

HRS 824: Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) in Disaster Management (3 Units)

Concepts, Meaning and contents of Environmental Impact Assessment (ElA). Monitoring soil, vegetation, climate, and water systems. Impact assessment, analysis and documentation. Social and Economic Impact. ElA Implementation, Reporting and review processes. Selected case studies.

HRS 825: Social, Ethical Dimensions of Disaster Management (3 Units)

Social and Ethical issues in disaster management. Disaster myths. Roles of Stakeholders, information, movies and print media, perception and preparedness, emergency managers, NGOs: role of policy, relief organizations.

HRS 899 Dissertation (6 Units)

This is a programme of individual research bearing on each student's field of specialization. The focus of the student's research is expected to be on generating new ideas on the processes of Humanitarian and Refugee Studies.